The latest round of the Wessex League was held within the vast grounds of the Harwell Laboratory just to the south of Didcot in Oxfordshire. The course was laid out on a hilly course with plenty of climbs and some tricky off camber knife edges to negotiate.
Once the rain started just after the start of the Vet/Women/Junior race the course got very slippery and a few riders soon found themselves picking on the ground. The event was the second round organised by Swindon RC and with a lot of co operation of the management of Harwell.
The latest round of the Wessex League was won by Michael Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale) his fifth of the season.
Cotty led from the start, opening up a large gap over Dan Lewis (RAF) and a group of riders including Chris Minter, Karl Norfolk and Nick Onslow (Pedal On), Mike Simpson (GS Henley) and Peter Kench (Team GWR).
Gridded at the front, Cotty soon took the race by the scruff and opened up nearly a minute lead on the opening lap. Dan was next up closely followed by Simpson.
By the third lap Cotty’s gap to Lewis was now 1min 6secs, with Minter a further 30secs back. Minter was trying hard to close the gap to Lewis but had to watch his back as Norfolk and Simpson were close by.
Onslow had started to drop back and it was soon evident that he was having trouble, and a bike change confirmed he had rolled a tub on one of the many off cambers on the course.
Over the next few laps the only significant change was Simpson who was slipping back and losing places first to Minter and then to Norfolk but he was riding well within himself and managed to hold station on fifth place.
Another rider losing ground on the tricky slippery course was Peter Kench, and he was soon on his own with only a hard chasing Onslow anywhere near him.
At the finish all riders hold station and Cotty sits up to salute his fifth win of the season.
The combined vet/women/junior race started just before the rain started and soon Robin Wilmott (GA Cycles) had a narrow lead over David Phillips (Swindon RC), David Wadsworth (Beeline Cycles) and Anthony Green (GA Cycles).
The leading women was Ruth Eyles (Beacon Roads CC) with Claire Smith (Swindon RC) taking a break from the organising of the event second and Sarah Woods (Wight Mountain ) third.
As the race progressed Wilmott was still leading and it was Green in his first race this season finding strength to first pass David Wadsworth and then David Phillips and was soon in touching distance of the leader.
The two leaders crossed the finish line thinking they had at least two laps to go started to work together, but it was soon evident that the commissaries had forgotten to ring the bell, so one of them cut the course to tell the leaders but by this time Wilmott was behind Green and this was to be the final result as he won by a couple of bike lengths. The two David’s finished third and fourth with David Hobbs (Corinium CC) fifth.
The women’s race was to remain constant with Eyles winning from Smith and Woods third. Jordan Wade (Poole Wheelers) was first Junior after Jason Pitt (AW Cycles) was involved in an incident when another rider rode into the back of his smashing off his rear mech forcing him to run to the pits to collect another bike.
The youth race was won in commanding style by Robbie Bolwell (Wight Mountain). Bolwell soon had a good lead over Tom Sewell (Swindon RC), Edward Gronbech (Oxford City RC) and Callum Mackie (LVYCC) with the first girls being Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Cycles) ahead of Zoe Sheehan (Swindon RC).
As the laps ticked off Bolwell’s lead opened out to 2min 16secs over Sewell with Gronbech 15secs down on him. Next up was Mackie at 3min 36secs and first girl Wadsworth at 4min 7secs. The leading three girls with a lap to go were Wadsworth 38secs over Sheehan who in turn was 1min 45 secs clear of Bethany Taylor (BCDS).
The morning got underway with 28 young riders in the under 12’s race. The race was won by Felix Mackie (LVYCC) from Harry Dridge (Southdown Velo) with Bethany Lewis (PPV) third and first girl.
1 Michael Cotty (Wheelbase/Cannondale)
2 Dan Lewis (RAF CC) @ 1:36
3 Kris Minter (Pedal On) @ 1:59
4 Jamie Norfolk (Pedal On) @ 2:57
5 Mike Simpson (GS Henley) @ 3:30
6 Peter Kench (GWR Team) @ 4:14
7 Ieuan Woods (Charlotteville CC)
8 Alderney Baker (Southdown Velo)
9 Liam Sewell (Swindon RC)
10 Conor Hutchinson (Swindon RC)
1 Anthony Green (GA Cycles)
2 Robin WIlmott (GA Cycles)
3 David Phillips (Swindon RC)
4 David Wadsworth (Beeline Bicycles)
5 David Hobbs (Corinium CC)
6 Clint Sparrey (Cyclexperience)
1 Ruth Eyles (Beacon RCC).
1 Rob Bolwell (Wight Mountain)
2 Tom Sewell (Swindon RC)
3 Edward Gronbech (Oxford City RC)
4 Callum Mackie (LVYCC)
5 Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Bicycles)
6 Zoe Sheehan (Swindon RC)
1 Felix Mackie (LVYCC)
2 Harry Dridge (Southdown Velo)
3 Bethany Lewis (PPV)